Jeff was born in New York City and raised in a reformed Jewish home permeated with Jewish cultural identity. His family celebrated the High Holy Days in the fall, Passover in the spring, and Jeff received his Bar Mitzvah at age 13. These practices created in him a strong cultural base as a Jew, but something was missing in his life. During the turbulent years of the Vietnam War, Jeff’s spiritual search began. He researched Buddhism, Hinduism and New Age philosophy. Although he gained insight through these spiritual practices, his soul continued to long for something deeper. Some years later he met a Jewish street evangelist who spoke of Yeshua (Jesus). The evangelist created a Bible study group at his house set around Jeff’s schedule! However, even after a year of study and a half year of attending a Messianic Congregation, Jeff remained skeptical. Then during a Messianic Bible conference in Pennsylvania, he had a powerful personal encounter with the Lord. Jeff pleaded with God not to accept him, telling God of his sordid past and selfish nature. As his cries and pleading to the Lord died down, he was immersed in the most powerful feeling of unconditional love. Jeff had met his Messiah.
A number of years later at a Chosen People Ministries Passover Seder, Jeff met Deborah. The following year they were married and began to minister together. Jeff started teaching Bible studies at Chosen People Ministries’ Manhattan location (NYC) in 2000 and Deborah started teaching Hebrew shortly after. Jeff’s ministry expanded to the New York School of the Bible where he taught “Life of the Messiah,” a First Century Jewish understanding of Jesus as Messiah. Then in 2003 along with Steve & Carol Fenchel they co-planted a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Manhattan that is still thriving. Jeff is a teaching elder, leading Bible studies, evangelism workshops and preaching once a month. He occasionally works with the teens, counsels congregants, and helps lead worship when the Fenchels are away. Deborah works with the younger children, helps with worship, and teaches beginning and intermediate Hebrew. In 2018, Jeff will finish his Masters of Divinity, with a special emphasis on Jewish studies, at Chosen People’s Feinberg Center, a satellite campus connected with Talbot Theological Seminary. As a Chosen People missionary, Jeff especially looks forward to continuing to build up Sha’ar Adonai Messianic Congregation (The Gate of the Lord, Ps. 118:20) and sharing the Gospel with God’s chosen people through outreaches and study groups. He also looks forward to the opportunity to share the Jewish roots of the Scriptures with our gentile brothers and sisters in Messiah in local churches.
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